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Online Bookings Worldwide

What this growing international trend means for the travel industry  Sep 09, 2008

Online travel booking has become an international trend. New research from multilingual search engine optimisation (SEO) company confirms that most people from all over the world book their travel tickets online.

People from over 40 different countries took part in Oban’s Face of Global Search competition, which ventured to uncover trends in their online travel search behaviour.

Ninety-nine percent of the entrants said they have booked holidays online. The majority of entrants (19 percent) book holiday tickets online once a year. Only slightly fewer respondents said they book online two and three times per year, at 13 and 11 percent respectively. The remaining entrants said they book online four, five and even more times per year.

“This reflects the fact that globally, people are becoming increasingly familiar with booking their travel online,” says Greig Holbrook, international SEO expert at Oban. “It’s a big change from last year, when people everywhere, but particularly overseas, were less trusting of the internet because of fraud concerns.”

E-commerce results from 2007 further confirm Oban’s findings. Jupiter Research shows that more was spent on online travel bookings in France and Germany in 2007 than in the UK. In China, online travel sales amounted to £1.4 billion in 2007, and are predicted to hit £6.2 billion by 2010, according to E-Marketer.

This means that travel sites will need to bulk up their international web marketing plan, says Greig. “Suppliers not only need to cater for them in their own language but also, as much as possible, allow them to buy successfully from the site.”

With increasing numbers of people from all over the world booking their holidays on the web, travel sites lacking an international online presence could miss out on a substantial amount of business.

In addition, since cultures react to content differently, what encourages one visitor to purchase from a travel site could deter another. Greig emphasises that travel sites need to be very well-localised to reflect all search and online purchase behaviours.

Further data from Oban’s competition suggests that users from all parts of the world are looking for four main things in a travel site when they book online: simple usability, traveller reviews, multilingual capability and eye-catching design.

As the web continues to develop and advance, one can only predict that it will become more prevalent in the daily lives of citizens worldwide. “Those quickest to predict and adjust to the changes will be the winners,” says Greig.

What this growing international trend means for the travel industry

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